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Pancreatic cancer pain: impact and management challenges

Authors Jones WB, Hale AL

Received 29 September 2016

Accepted for publication 2 March 2017

Published 24 May 2017 Volume 2017:7 Pages 13—17

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/GICTT.S95532

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Eileen O'Reilly


Wesley B Jones,1 Allyson L Hale2

1University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Greenville, SC, USA; 2Department of Surgery, Greenville Health System, Greenville, SC, USA

Abstract: The majority of patients with pancreatic cancer experience a pain that will significantly alter their quality of life. Based on the low survival rates associated with pancreatic cancer, management of pain is an important component of palliation. Current management options include medication and intervention, specifically celiac plexus neurolysis (CPN) and bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy (BTS). The purpose of this paper is to outline the current state of interventional palliation of pain associated with malignant neural involvement in patients with pancreatic cancer. At present, CPN and BTS are not typically used until after failure of narcotic medications, even though narcotics have numerous side effects. Multiple studies have evaluated CPN or BTS and shown excellent outcomes for pain control, with 60%–90% successful palliation. Moreover, few complications have been reported in the literature. Because of the side effects commonly experienced with narcotics, as well as the high success and low complication rates of intervention, most authors recommend early intervention by way of BTS or CPN for patients with pancreatic cancer in significant pain.

Keywords: splanchnicectomy, celiac neurolysis, pancreatic cancer

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